Saturday, April 16, 2011

It's BOGO day at Subway!

Apparently Subway does this every year around Tax Day. (Which is not quite yet, thank goodness, because my accountant is supposed to call to set up our final appointment this afternoon.)

That new egg and bacon sandwich looked intriguing, so I thought I'd mosey over to Subway for breakfast, try it, and wind up with enough food to last the weekend. I love their tuna sandwich! (Sorry, Jared.)

I set off with Kindle to drive to Mebane, the nearest town. Why the Kindle? Because I get zero reception at my house—yes, with cells, too—and had two books to download. So I get to north Mebane's tiny strip mall, turn on the Kindle. Zip! Both books are there in instants. Then I get out of the car to make my way to the Subway.

There's a sign on the door: "BOGO will end at 2:00 on the dot!" Okay, that's fine with me, but too bad for the dinner crowd. I didn't recall Subway advertising that their huge BOGO event would be less than a full operating day.

Opened the door. Whoops. Didn't open the door. It was still securely locked. I checked the store's operating hours. 8 AM to 10 PM. It was then 8:30 AM. Finally caught the eye of the girl inside, who was bustling about attending to her bread. I pointed at the door, at the operating hours chart. She shook her head and went back to her bread.

Hunh. Well, I could go over to Waffle House, but I'd planned that as a treat for when the taxes are actually done. That is, if I have any money left to go to the Waffle House. Don't you love their Fiesta Omelet? Decided instead to hit the Subway at the new outlet mall.

As I arrived, I wondered what I'd been thinking. The outlet mall wouldn't open until 10, would it? Who shows up at an outlet mall before 10? There was the Subway the next major street over, but they never had unsweet tea. If I'd been awake, I might have recalled that the Mebane Wally World has a Subway in it, but I might not have, as I'm used to the Hillsborough Walmart, which has a mini-McDonalds.

But I could see the "open" sign from the street, so I stopped. At their front door the sign said: "BOGO will run from 5 PM - 8 PM ONLY!!! At 8:01, no BOGO will be honored."

I went inside. "Does every Subway have a different BOGO schedule?" I asked the guy behind the counter.

"Just us. The other four shops in town [turns out there's another one downtown] all run until 2."

I told him about the one I'd just been to, that hadn't been opened though they were supposed to have been.

"Oh yeah. We have to put those hours on our sign or they won't let us operate. We have to say we're open for 12 [I think it was 12. Could have been 14.] hours a day."

"What? You're saying the operating hours sign was a lie?"

"Oh, yeah. That's just for legalities. They open at 9, not 8."

Sheesh. Well, I was determined not to waste any more gas driving around in search of a Subway that might possibly be open and might be observing holy BOGO, so I just ordered a 6-inch bacon and egg flatbread.

Note: It's nice. You get a choice of regular eggs or egg whites. I chose to have them sprinkle salt over it (figuring the offer for such meant that the eggs hadn't been seasoned, and forgetting about the presence of bacon), so it was a little salty, but otherwise all right.

I ordered a meal. I mean, macadamia cookies would calm me during the huge storms we're supposed to get this afternoon. I gave my card to the guy and it didn't work. "It's not the card, it's the scanner," the guy said. Subway had insisted that, the day before their biggest day of the year (according to Guy), they switch out their card scanners.

"During Mercury in retrograde?" I gasped. "What were they thinking?"

The guy started to dismantle the connection between scanner and cash register. "They're idiots," he muttered. Then he said, "Guess instead of BOGO, you get your sandwich free today."

I thanked him (forgetting that I might have had enough cash in my wallet for the job. Cash? Who uses cash any more?) and went to get my tea.

No tea had been brewed yet. Not unsweet, not even sweet. I settled for some pink chemicals in water that said they contained vitamin C.

So a happy BOGO day to us all!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More Than Strickly a Book Review

Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives
by Michael Newton, Ph.D.
Llewellyn Publications
5 spangles out of five

Let me digress. Waaay back in high school, I stumbled upon The Search for Bridey Murphy, a book in which an amateur hypnotist first took an Arizona housewife back to a previous life, as part of (iIrc) a party entertainment in 1952. As soon as she said, "Scratched the paint all off my bed" (she remembered being a little girl who was being punished by having to stay in her room and was feeling rebellious), I was hooked. Why, I even bought a record of the first session.

Bridey was supposed to have been a 19th Century woman living in Ireland, and during a series of hypnotic sessions her modern incarnation recounted that life, right up to death and slightly beyond. Researchers have said they've debunked the "facts" of her life, and the hypnotist did admit to leading his subject.

But just because one amateur doesn't conduct an investigation in a scientific method is no reason to completely dismiss the entire concept of reincarnation.

Ancient Greeks believed in it. Just about all cultures do, come to think of it. Why, the Catholic church even had to work to expunge mentions of reincarnation from their "official" Bible. (Though they missed a few "Elijah will be reborn" verses, especially in Matthew 11:7-14.)

I'm not talking transmigration here. That's where human souls can go into the bodies of animals. I'm not sure at all about that, but I have seen transcripts of hypnotic sessions where this has been claimed to have happened.

It just seemed to me that more scientific investigations should be made. Eventually I stumbled upon Dr. Helen Wambagh's wonderful books (except the last, Mass Dreams of the Future, which relied on one subject in particular, though I'll have to reread it as I just noticed it mentioned Obama).

But Dr. Wambagh dealt with large groups of people. She'd get a gym-full and regress them. Then they'd fill out a form. Then she'd regress them again; again, the form-filling. Then she took her results, graphed them and researched historic trends, etc. That's what I was talking about! It's all fascinating stuff.

She did a separate book on one of her "specialty" regressions she had her groups do: that of telling her what had happened before these people decided to incarnate. The book is Life Before Life. Incredibly interesting and enlightening! I wanted to know more but didn't see anything on the bookshelves.

Oh, the Internet! What a wonderful thing it is. The other week I discovered Journey of Souls, and have since ordered both followups to it. But let's talk about Journey of Souls.

In it we find Dr. Newton has regressed many, many people to all kinds of past lives. They come to him after medical doctors can't find the source of their problems, and sometimes the answers have been found in past lives.

Dr. Newton here presents what happens to us when we die. What the process is, what our life "Out There" (it's our true home, unlike Earth) is like, and how we go about getting back into a new body. The book is organized into steps that his subjects agree on.

When we die, we usually jump out of the body before any pain can get too bad. Suicide is a huge source of guilt, unless it's to alleviate physical pain, in which case it's okay. Young souls who abruptly die and are pissed off about it, and those who bear a lot of guilt can linger on as spirits instead of getting to where they should be going. Many souls linger just long enough to try to soothe the grief of their loved ones. They try to tell them that they're doing just fine.

Then they're off! Younger souls are confused by the journey and require friends and familiar souls to greet them. Older souls know where they're going. We get showered in positive energy to renew ourselves. We get a non-judgmental life-retrospective. There's a kind of central station that newly-arriving souls zip through, carried on currents of... something. This carries us to our "pods," which are places where the souls we will spend all eternity being BFF (literally!) with reside.

Though some of our friends probably don't reside in our pod, we can merely think of them and be in instant close contact with them. Though some souls may also be on Earth incarnated, they leave a part of themselves back in the pod, though they're at lower operating levels than usual. (Souls can also reincarnate into two concurrent lives. I've read that elsewhere as well.)

In the pod we have direct access to our personal guide and teachers. There are junior and senior ones. There seems to be a definite hierarchy of souls to the Source. (They say don't call it "God" because that makes it human when it's not.) Prepare yourselves to have your mind blown when the author makes a theory about the Source of our universe at the very end. It was something I was thinking about after having heard all the stories.

Anyway, in the pod we figure out what we did right and wrong—with both qualities being those we deem good or bad for our soul's evolution—in our previous life and what we could be working on, how we could be helping our podmates improve themselves, etc. There seems to be a lot of fun, humor, and even play as well as serious study.

Souls are at all different levels of advancement, though those in our own pod are right around our own level. To my surprise, this book said that there were new souls being born all the time. Some people truly are "old souls," and here I'd thought that was just some frou-frou goofball romantic phrase.

Eventually we decide to reincarnate. We talk to our guides and podmates and we do a lot of thinking. Then we get to go to a theatre to view possible lives. We usually have some definite location in mind. We're presented (by a council of Elders, who keep our wants and needs very much in mind) with choices of bodies and what their lives will be like. (There are turning points in lives that can make them go in different directions. We have free will.)

Then we go back to our pod and discuss/think. When we make a definite decision, we go into a meeting with the people who will be in our new lives. There are close friends and soulmates, yes, but also others who need the interaction with us to accomplish something. The Elders make sure we have a series of signs (!) that will signal to us our turning points. There are backup signs. One guy even said that the Elders knew he had a tendency to miss signs, so they arranged a bunch of backup signs.

One "sign" was a flashing of a woman's necklace. When the boy noticed the flash, he met her and she taught him important ways to approach life. Later, when he met his wife-to-be, he recognized her by her eyes, by her perfume, and one of his signs to her was that he stepped on her toes during their first dance. Aww!

Then it's off to be born. Being born is supposed to be a LOT more traumatic than dying. Good to know. Ah, you're wondering about abortion now, right? Most people report that very young fetuses don't have a human soul merged with them yet. The souls have to incorporate with the (animal soul?) that is there in the body. (The book says that animals have half-souls. I want to know more about this!)

The soul floats in and out of the fetus (if a fetus doesn't live until birth, the soul comforts it; the death was known before the incarnation), only really settling in at birth—and even then the stories say they don't really go gung-ho into their incarnations until about age 5. There was a cute bit about the soul trying to work to settle family negativity by getting the baby to reach out and touch someone's face during an argument, etc. Everyone was so busy saying, "Aww!" that the argument dissipated.

But the whole purpose of studying reincarnation is this: to realize that we indeed are immortal beings and that we are all on a learning journey. We should always strive to improve ourselves and help those around us. Life is a classroom, but life is also to be enjoyed by loving and helping others.

The book itself can be just a trifle on the dry, analytical side at some points, but they pass quickly and the text is usually clear. The examples, given in script form as the subject tells the doctor what's going on and why, is riveting. So I'd say that this book is a definite don't miss. Your mind will spin but your curiosity about "Why are we here?" will find a few wonderful answers.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let's get small!

Last November at Art of the Carolinas I was introduced to the idea of working on smaller canvases. First, they allow you to simplify if you wish. Second, they sometimes are available in quantity discounts, so getting a bunch costs a little less than your usual canvas. Third, they encourage working on series.

And I do want to work on series!

I've only done two or so flower paintings and had been wanting to do more, so I reached into my supply closet to the new stack of small canvases, and began. How fun it was to try three different versions of the same flowers that had bloomed in my window boxes last year! (I'd been so gratified to find a spot finally that salvia would thrive in. I do love red salvia.)

I tried combining two different techniques of painting on these, and am quite pleased with the results. Which doesn't mean that I'm not primed to start going a little more outrageous using the same subjects and new canvases.

My coworkers convinced me that these would best be sold as a group. As a triptych, they can be hung closely together. Or they can be scattered around a room, two here and one there, or maybe separately, to create a cohesive eyeflow.

I hope you like 'em!

The price for all three together is $250. "Salvia Triptych" is done in acrylic on canvas. Each picture is 8" square, with image wrapping around to the 1.5" sides. Click on the picture at the top of the blog for a closer look. Shipping and handling is free within the US. For other locations, drop me a line (through my website or on Facebook) and we'll talk. All materials are archival. And yes, I know I need to paint my porch. Again. (sigh)